The Dresden Kreuzkirche (Church of the Holy Cross) is a Lutheran church in Dresden, Germany.
It is the main church and seat of the Landesbischof of the Evangelical-Lutheran Church of Saxony, and the largest church building in the Free State of Saxony. It also is home of the Dresdner Kreuzchor boys’ choir.
A Romanesque basilica dedicated to Saint Nicholas had existed at the southeastern corner of the Dresden market since the twelfth century. A Side-chapel of the Cross, named after a relic bequeathed by the Meissen margravine Constance of Babenberg (1212–1243), was first mentioned in 1319. Over the decades, it became the name of the whole church, which was officially dedicated on 10 June 1388 to the Holy Cross.
From 1401 it was rebuilt as a hall church with a prominent westwork in the German Sondergotik style. Based on the architectural works by Peter Parler (1330–1399), the construction later served as a model for numerous church buildings in such as St. Anne’s Church, Annaberg-Buchholz or St. Wolfgang’s Church, Schneeberg. Finished about 1447/49, the church burned down in 1491, the first of five blazes over the next centuries. The Wettin electors of Saxony, residing at Dresden since 1464, had the Gothic hall church rebuilt, from 1499 under the architectural direction of Conrad Pflüger. From 1579 until 1584 the westwork was restored in a Renaissance style.
The church was heavily damaged by Prussian cannonade during the Seven Years’ War, with its Late Gothic choir almost completely destroyed. After the war, the Dresden master builder Johann George Schmidt (1707–1774) set up plans for a Baroque reconstruction, which however were opposed by contemporary architects of the Neoclassicist school following Zacharias Longuelune (1669–1748). Prince Francis Xavier of Saxony backed Schmidt and laid the foundation stone in 1764, nevertheless, after the preserved westwork collapsed in 1765, Schmidt had to accept the Neoclassicist chief architect Friedrich August Krubsacius (1718–1789) as adviser. Choir and steeple were accomplished in 1788, the new church was consecrated in 1792 and construction works finished in 1800.
In this painting, Bernardo Bellotto precisely depicted the old Church of the Cross, after the collapse of the Westwerk.
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